Violin Practice Tips to Stay Motivated and Improve Fast | Violin Lounge TV #296
In this video I share tips about productive and consistent violin practice
The technique of practicing is more important than the practicing of technique
In this episode op Violin Lounge TV I answer a question from Lisa. She asks: “How do I stay motivated to keep practicing? Any tips for productive and consistent practice sessions?”
I love the following quote:
“If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient and you will find an excuse. If you’re committed, you’ll find a way.”
Every day you can find maybe fifteen or ten minutes to practice
To learn to play the violin beautifully, the most important thing is to practice consistently, to practice daily. In the long run, what really matters, is that when you’ve had a long day of work, you’ve had traffic or maybe you’ve felt a little ill, you practiced anyway. Those days really matter: the days that you don’t feel like practicing, but you do it anyway.
Or the days that you have a lot of obligations and you just say ‘no’ because the violin is important for expressing yourself through music, which makes the world a better place. You’re not only doing it for yourself. So, start to say ‘no’ and practice the violin on all the days that you don’t feel like it.
This consistent practice will bring you to where you want to be, wherever that is. Whether you want to give concerts or just want to express yourself on your instrument at home. Know that it is important and know that if you really stay on your game, you’ll eventually get the results.
I firmly believe that learning to play the violin beautifully is a learnable skill and that everybody can do it
I own a violin school and violin shop for over ten years now, so I’ve seen thousands of violinists.
I have never seen someone who practiced consistently but didn’t get the results
Maybe they don’t play Paganini concerto’s or whatever, maybe they don’t become a world-famous soloist, most of us don’t, but I have never seen someone who didn’t learn everything while she or he was doing everything to get there. Keep that in mind.
In your practice session, be really clear on what you’re doing and why
Don’t practice on auto pilot because that won’t help you. It doesn’t matter how many hours you’re practicing. What matters most is that you practice daily and that you practice with a goal. Try to be your own teacher and correct yourself all the time. It’s a fun way of practicing because you’re analyzing what goes wrong and how you can solve it. You’re creatively trying to solve the problems you encounter and on top of that you’re getting results, so you stay motivated.
What I see in violin players, and I see a lot of violin players in my daily work, is that they are either on this train of practicing a lot, playing together with others, getting motivated, playing the music they love.
Or they are not really feeling like practicing, their violin is in its case for a couple of days and when they pick it up nothing works, and they are not really getting somewhere. After some months they don’t notice any progress because they haven’t practiced enough, or mindlessly. Those are the people that eventually stop playing or they play from time, but they aren’t satisfied, and the violin becomes more of a frustration than a joy to them.
Practice slowly, be your own teacher and practice daily!
Then, if you are practicing technical stuff like scales and etudes, match them to the piece that you play
For example, this year I want to be able to play the fifth caprice by Paganini very well. Because of that I play Sevcik exercises to improve my bowing technique and of course I will practice saltato. I am not going to practice all sorts of techniques that I’m currently not using in my repertoire.
Of course, you must always try to improve everything in your violin playing, but your practice must be deliberate. When you practice a scale, you want to improve your intonation in a certain scale. So, let that match to the piece that you play. If you play a piece in D-minor, play a D-minor scale and don’t just mindlessly play scale after scale in completely different keys. Of course you can practice those scales, but also practice the scale that you’re using for your repertoire to support that.
That way you actually get results from all those “boring” technical exercises, the pieces you play will get easier and you’ll become more motivated to keep on doing the technical exercises
Everything must have a purpose, and everything must be connected to each other.
Etudes are made to teach you something specific
If you’re looking for an etude, look for one in which you can find a technique that you struggle with in the pieces that you play. If you struggle with a spiccato passage, then do your scales in spiccato and search for an etude with spiccato in it. If you play a piece with a lot of double stops, play a scale in double stops or find an etude in which you can practice double stops.
I hope this is a clear answer to your question, Lisa, and to all of you I would like to hear if you have any further questions on this topic. Just let me know in the comments below. If this episode of Violin Lounge TV is useful to you, leave a comment on what tip helped you the most.